Oklahoma Poacher Caught Electrofishing Catfish

Jay Harvey was bass fishing on Hugo Lake in southeastern Oklahoma on the morning of August 8 when he noticed one thing suspicious. “My son and I had been pre-fishing for a match that we’ve received arising on the lake,” Harvey advised F&S. “On the finish of the dock there was a deal with field with a bunch of wires protruding out of it, and what seemed like an electrical motor was sitting subsequent to it.” 

Harvey labored as a recreation warden for the Oklahoma Division of Wildlife Conservation for thirty years and is now the top recreation warden for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. He was acquainted with fish surprising tools from a long time spent patrolling the woods and waters round Choctaw County, Oklahoma. He advised his son to tug up for a more in-depth look. 

“I noticed these huge dip nets and that’s one other apparent clue of individuals which might be surprising fish,” Harvey mentioned. “ My son mentioned, ‘Dad, there’s a phone proper there.’” The “phone” that Harvey is referring to was really simply the interior components of an vintage wood field telephone. In southeastern Oklahoma and different components of the southern United States, the center of antiquated crank telephones are typically utilized by fish poachers to ship electrical currents into the water that quickly stun fish,  sending them floating to the floor the place they are often netted A extra formal model of the technique is usually employed by state wildlife biologists when conducting analysis on freshwater fish species. Leisure “electrofishing”, was outlawed in most U.S. states by the Fifties. 

Harvey’s Tip Results in an Investigation

boat with miscellaneous equipment
The fish shocker’s tools was present in a small jon boat close to a Hugo Lake marina. Oklahoma Sport Wardens

Harvey and his son rapidly alerted Choctaw County recreation warden Andrew Potter, who known as his accomplice Jim Gillham. The 2 wardens went to the marina to interview the employees. They discovered that the proprietor of the electrofishing tools had a houseboat close by and staked out within the parking zone for six hours till he confirmed up. “As soon as he confirmed up and walked all the way down to his houseboat, we made our preliminary contact,” Potter mentioned.

In keeping with Potter, the accused fish shocker was primarily concentrating on catfish. “Catfish are actually inclined to the electrical present, and this space—the Kiamichi and Pink River Basins—are type of perfect surprising circumstances,” he explains. “They’ve good sandy bottoms and good water temperature. While you get just a little circulation, that may be fairly perfect for surprising fish.”

Learn Subsequent: Five Poachers Busted with 665 Catfish in Louisiana

Potter says that fish surprising is a long-standing cultural custom in southeast Oklahoma regardless of it being outlawed for a number of a long time. He and Gillham common about 4 fish surprising busts a 12 months of their jurisdiction. “We all know lots of people which might be of their 80s and 90s, and should you had been fishing again [when they were young], you had been both netting or surprising fish,” he mentioned. “Most of them use previous bar phone buzz bins, grandpa constructed it kind-of-things.” 

Through the course of the investigation, the accused electrofisher forfeited at the least three fish surprising units, a number of wire lead units, two dip nets, and a cardboard field stuffed with frozen catfish filets. The perpetrator may face fines in extra of $1,000 and as much as 30 days in jail.  

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